Biblical Astronomy

September/October 2004


Editor – Robert Scott Wadsworth <> P.O. Box 2272, Oregon City, OR 97045

Phone (503) 655-7430 <> e-mail – <> Website –





Nehemia Gordon from Jerusalem, Israel compiled the following New Moon Report for the month of September and the beginning of the Seventh month of the Hebrew Calendar, Ethanim (Tishri).


“On Wednesday September 15, 2004, the new moon was sighted by Magdi Shamuel at 19:05 from Ashdod, Israel.


Therefore, the Yom Teruah Holiday will be Wednesday night (Sept. 15) and Thursday day (Sept. 16) only.”


Roy Hoffman of the New Moon Society from Jerusalem, Israel compiled the following. 


“The New Moon appears differently each month. Sometimes it is easy to see and sometimes it is very difficult to the extent that it is unsure if it will be visible at all. Last Wednesday night (15th September 2004) in Israel was one such case of an extremely difficult New Moon. In the event, seven people saw the Moon from three locations.


Continuing from the general message, here are the details for Wednesday night's sighting (15th September 2004).


I observed the Moon from Modiin (31.904°N, 35.007°E, 150 m). From my viewpoint, I could see the Sun set over the Mediterranean Sea, which it did at 18:48:01 (UTC+3). Using 10x50 tripod-mounted binoculars, I saw the Moon at 19:03 till 19:18. With the naked eye (distance glasses) I could see it with very great difficulty at least four or five times between 19:09 and 19:13.


Magdi Shamuel, who is a very experienced observer, observed from Ashdod (31.80°N, 34.64°E, 0m) and his report was almost identical. He saw the Sun set over the sea at 18:48. The Moon appeared in his 11x80 binoculars at 19:04 till 19:17 and to the naked eye between 19:09 or 10 till 19:15.


Hillel Skolnik, an experienced observer, Yitschak Citron and three others observed from Beitar (31.70 N, 35.12E, 650m). They saw the Moon with the naked eye from 19:08 till 19:11.


The New Moon was not seen from Mt. Hezkiyahu, Arad, Ofakim, Beer Sheva, Ramle or Petach Tikva in Israel and also from Malta despite serious efforts to see it.


Danny Levy also saw the Moon with binoculars only from Har Nof, Jerusalem at 19:08.


Thank you to all those that sent in reports. It is thanks to you your efforts that these very difficult Moons get seen.”


There is some debate as to the criteria that should be followed in determining a New Moon sighting.  The way that it was done at the time of the first appearing of Yahshua the Messiah (about 2,000 years ago) is that the New Moon was sighted with the naked eye from Jerusalem by at least two witnesses who then reported the sighting to the High Priest who then declared it to be the first day of the month.  On the Day of Trumpets or Yom Teruah, the shofars were then sounded and large bond fires were lit from one mountaintop to the other to let the people in the land of Israel know that it the first day the month of the Fall Feasts had begun.  If we are to go by that criteria this year, then the New Moon was not seen from Jerusalem with the naked eye on September 15, and therefore the first day of the Seventh month did not begin until sunset on September 16.  This is the date that I lean toward, but this is not a “thus saith the Lord” as far as I know.   For those who observe the feasts, you will need to be guided by your own conscience and prayer as to the criteria you go by.  Messiah will give us the correct criteria when He returns.  Until then, there is no certainty in these matters.


It should also be noted that at the time of Moshe (Moses) the new moon sightings were not sighted from Jerusalem, but from remote locations as well as in the early days of the kingdom of Israel until the temple was set up in Jerusalem.  There are good arguments that this should be the case now - that new moons can be sighted from remote locations in Israel - at least until the third temple is set up.  The final word on this will come from Messiah.


The next New Moon that will begin the Eighth month of the Hebrew calendar is expected to be visible from Jerusalem near sunset on October 15, 2004.  At that time Bethulah (Virgo) will be clothed with the sun and the moon will be under her feet as shown in the below star chart (Rev. 12:1)  This is as seen from Jerusalem 15 minutes after sunset.  The sun is seen here below the horizon (gray area). 


Bethulah on October 15, 2004


During the time of the birth of Messiah, the event of the woman being clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet occurred mostly at the beginning of the Seventh month on the Hebrew calendar, on Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets) when the solar-lunar cycle was favorable for this event to occur (about every two to three years).  But now, because of the precessional movement of the earth, this occurs mostly at the beginning of the Eighth month on the Hebrew calendar.  This event still occurs on or near the first day of the Seventh month, but only when the first day falls later in the year (from late September to early October).


The next two diagrams show the position of Bethulah in the early evening sky as the first seven months on the Hebrew calendar progress.  The first diagram shows Bethulah rising in the early evening sky about an hour after sunset during the time of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  The second diagram shows Bethulah high in the early evening sky about one hour after sunset at the time of Pentecost.


Bethulah on April 7 in current epoch


Bethulah on June 1 of current epoch


At the time of Pentecost, Bethulah is at its highest position in the early evening sky (See the June 2004 issue of Biblical Astronomy).   Bethulah is seen setting in the west in the early evening sky at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. 


The main theme of the sign and constellation Bethulah is The Promised Seed of the woman.  In the constellation picture she is seen holding a sheaf of wheat or barley in her left hand.  In this sheaf is the brightest and main star of Bethulah, which in Arabic is called Al Zimach, which means the branch.  The Hebrew name of this star is Tsemech, which also means the Branch.  There are twenty Hebrew words translated “Branch,” but only one of them (Tsemech) is used exclusively of the Messiah, and this word only four times.  It is from this Branch that we get the Bread of Life.


How exact and unique that Yahweh Elohim set this constellation in its place to portray the three seasons of harvest during His three main feasts.  She is seen first rising in the east in the early evening sky at the time of the barley wave offering and barley harvest at the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  She is then seen highest in the early evening sky during the beginning of the wheat harvest at Pentecost.  She is then seen setting in the west in the early evening sky at the latter harvest and during the Feast of Tabernacles.  She then disappears from the early evening sky until the following spring when she rises again near the beginning of the barley harvest.  This cycle continues, year after year.


There is much analogy that can be seen in the Book of Ruth concerning these harvests in their relation to the Feasts and the Messiah and His bride.  It was at the beginning of the barley harvest that Ruth (a gentile) came to Bethlehem with Naomi, and she met her future husband, Boaz (Ruth 1:22 – 2:22).  Ruth gleaned “unto the end of the barley harvest and of the wheat harvest” (Ruth 2:23).  The Scriptures and the NIV both have “until the barley and wheat harvests were “finished” or “complete.”   The wheat harvest was started around Pentecost and the latter harvest was finished just before Tabernacles.  It was after the completion of the wheat harvest that Ruth was married to Boaz and became the greater grandmother of Yahshua the Messiah who was and is The Seed of the woman.  It is also believed that the marriage supper of the Lamb will occur during the Feast of Tabernacles after the latter harvest.  Again, there is much analogy and revelation that can be seen and gleaned from the Book of Ruth concerning the Messiah and His bride and how the Feasts of Yahweh are connected to the mindset and prophecies concerning the first and second appearing of Messiah.


It is on the first day of each month during the first seven months on the Hebrew calendar that the shofars (trumps) are blown.  The first trump is sounded on the first day of Abib, about two weeks before the barley harvest commences.  The seventh and last trump is sounded on the First day of the Seventh month.  The latter harvest is gathered in by the 14th day of the seventh month (in some years, perhaps even before the 1st day of the Seventh month).  It will most likely be at this time of the year that Messiah will gather his people together after the latter harvest.  This is a time that all those who love Yahshua the Messiah yearn for.  It is the time of the great gathering and wedding supper of the Lamb.




Below I have listed two sets of dates for each of the feast days.  The first set is reckoned starting the first day of the month according to sighting the new moon from remote locations in Israel.  The second set is reckoned according to sighting the new moon with the naked eye from Jerusalem.  Take your pick after much prayer.  Each is from the evening of the first day to the evening of the second day.


Day of Trumpets                    Sep 15/16          Sep 16/17


Day of Atonement                   Sep 24/25          Sep 25/26


First Day Tabernacles            Sep 29/30          Sep 30/Oct 1


Last Great Day                      Oct 06/07          Oct 07/08         



Speaking of the feasts and the Sign Bethulah, there are a number of interesting celestial events that will be occurring in this constellation and sign during the above feast dates. 


As mentioned in the August 2004 issue of Biblical Astronomy, Comet LINEAR (2003 K4) will be passing through the midst of Bethulah during the Fall Feasts.  Chart 372 shows the Path of Comet LINEAR from September 15 (near the womb) to October 8, 2004.


Chart 372 – Path of Comet LINEAR (C2003 K4) from 9/15 to 10/8/2004 during the Fall Feasts


Currently, the comet is at a brightness of magnitude 6.3 and does not show much promise of becoming a naked eye object during the Feast of Tabernacles.  It is, however, a magnificent telescopic object.  See a picture of this comet and a more extensive chart of its path in the August 2004 issue of Biblical Astronomy.


There is a slight possibility that this comet could become a naked eye object by late October into November.  We will just have to wait and see.  Though this comet is not a naked eye object at this time, it is still interesting in light of the fact of where it is during the feast days and during the same time that other celestial events in Bethulah occur.  There is another comet that has been recently discovered which is expected to become a naked eye object in December and January.  This will be covered later in this newsletter. 




On September 29 the asteroid Toutatis will pass about one million miles from Earth.  This is a distance that is about four times the distance to the moon.   This is the closest that an asteroid this large (3 miles by 1 mile) has passed during the past century).  At its brightest, the asteroid will be about a magnitude 8.9 at its closest approach to Earth, which is far beyond naked eye visibility.


Chart 373 shows the path of Toutatis from September 27 to September 29.  The Asteroid will be passing between the two centaurs (Sagittarius and Centaurus) during those dates.  It will also pass by Ara, the alter of fire.  The asteroid will be one degree above the star Alpha Centauri (the black spot in the front hoof in Centaurus, which is the figure in the lower left in the chart).  The ancient name of Alpha Centauri is Toliman, which means the heretofore and the hereafter, marking him as the one “which is, and which was, and which is to come – the Almighty (Rev. 1:8) – from E.W. Bullinger’s The Witness of the Stars, p.40.


Chart 373 – Path of Asteroid Toutatis from September 27 to September 29, 2004


            The star Toliman and therefore the event of the Asteroid’s closest approach are not visible from most of the Northern Hemisphere.

            The constellation Centaurus is one of the three decan constellations that belong to the Sign Virgo (Bethulah).  This event occurs in the Sign Bethulah.


The following is an excerpt from the article by Robert Roy Britt posted by on May 3, 2004 titled:


City-Sized Asteroid to Pass Earth This Fall


“A minor rumor has hatched on the Internet that a large and deadly asteroid will strike Earth this fall. Bulletin board discussions cite a 63 percent chance of impact, while concerned readers have e-mailed wondering if it is true.


Astronomers know of no such impending doom.


The rumors are likely rooted in a real event, however. On Sept. 29, 2004 an asteroid the size of a small city will make the closest known pass of such a very large space rock anytime this century.


While not dangerous for now, asteroid Toutatis is incredibly strange. And scientists are quite familiar with it, having bounced radar off the tumbling stone on previous flybys to generate computer renderings of its weird shape and movement.


Toutatis looks something like a dumbbell hurtling awkwardly through space. It has a crazy rotation that makes normal days impossible. Scientists can't explain the shape or the spin, but they're eager to learn more in September when, during the close pass, even backyard skywatchers will be able to spot the asteroid.


Well known path

The orbit of Toutatis is pinned down with better precision than any other large asteroid known to cross Earth's orbit. Toutatis' 4-year trek around the Sun ranges from just inside the Earth's path out to the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The asteroid visits us every four years.


This fall, it will zoom by our planet within a million miles, or about four times the distance to the Moon.


That's close by cosmic standards for an object that could cause global devastation. Toutatis hasn't been so near since the year 1353 and won't be that close again until 2562, NASA scientists have calculated. No other asteroid so large is known to have come so close in the past, though accurate tracking of space rocks is a fairly recent, high-tech skill that still leaves wide margins of error for many objects.


Toutatis is about 2.9 miles long and 1.5 miles wide (4.6 by 2.4 kilometers).


Many smaller space rocks have passed by much closer, well inside the Moon's orbit. Other asteroids in the size range of Toutatis have surely navigated that window, too, but were unseen in eras when the skies were not scanned so fully as today.


And throughout history, several asteroids and comets have hit the planet. In fact, an object the size of Mars hit Earth when it was very young, creating the Moon, scientists believe. But experts say the odds of a major collision in any year are extremely small. Any other near-Earth asteroid as big as Toutatis would almost surely be spotted decades or centuries before any possible impact.


The prediction of any such event would make huge news rather than small rumors.”


If an asteroid this size hit the earth it would most likely cause much more damage than is written in the book of Revelation.   It would most likely destroy at least 80 percent of all life on Earth.  The event of Revelation 8:9 or any other singular event is not so cataclysmic.





On September 27, 2004 the planets Tzedek (Jupiter) and Adom (Mars) will come into a very close conjunction at 1/6th of a degree separation.  Chart 374 shows the positions of Jupiter and Mars in the constellation Bethulah at the time conjunction.  Mars is too close to Jupiter to be labeled here.  It is the black dot or bulge at the bottom of the black dot representing Jupiter.  This event will not be visible to the naked eye since the planets are too close to the sun at the time of conjunction in the early morning and will be drowned out by the dawn light.  Tzedek (Jupiter) represents THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS and one representation of Adom (Mars) is Michael the warrior angel.



Chart 374 – Very close conjunction of Jupiter and Mars on September 27, 2004


On September 29, 2004 Tzedek will come into conjunction with Catab (Mercury).  One representation of Catab is Gabriel the messenger angel.  The chart below shows the positions of Jupiter and Mercury at the time of conjunction in the early morning just before sunrise.  The black dot to the lower left of Mercury and to the left of Jupiter is Mars.  The planets will be too close to the sun to be seen with the naked eye.


Jupiter and Mercury Conjunction on September 29


On September 30, 2004 Adom (Mars) and Catab (Mercury) will come into conjunction.  The chart below shows the positions of Mars and Mercury at the time of the conjunction in the early morning just before sunrise.  Mars is the black dot below Mercury. Again, the planets will be too close to the sun to be seen with the naked eye.


Mercury and Mars conjunction on September 30


The chart below shows a unique equidistant massing of the planets Tzedek, Adom, and Catab on October 1, 2004.  Mars is the black dot just above the second “a” in the name Zaniah.  This event is again too close to the sun to be visual.


Unique Massing of Planets on October 1


On October 3, the planet Nogah (Venus) the bright and morning star will come into a very close conjunction (within 1/6th of a degree) with the star Regulus in the constellation Arieh ((Leo) the Lion.  From ancient time Regulus has been known as the King star of the heavens and also represents the King of the Judah, here in the Lion of Judah. 


Chart 375 shows the position of Venus in Arieh (Leo) at the time of the conjunction in the early morning hours about an hour before sunrise on October 3, 2004.  Regulus is not labeled here and not made out since Venus is almost directly on top of it.


Chart 375 – Very close conjunction of Venus and Regulus on October 3, 2004


This event will be easily visible to the naked eye long before sunrise.   Venus will be burning brightly at a –4 magnitude.





On October 13, 2004 there will be a Partial Solar Eclipse that will be visible near sunset from Hawaii, Alaska, Japan and Siberia.

Chart 376 shows the position of the sun and moon in the constellation Bethulah (Virgo) at the time of the eclipse.


Chart 376 – Positions of Sun and Moon during a Partial Solar Eclipse on October 13, 2004





There will be a Total Lunar Eclipse that will be visible throughout the United States as well as from Israel on October 27/28, 2004.  Chart 377 shows the position of the moon in the constellation Aries as seen from Jerusalem at 6:00 a.m. on October 28, 2003.  The moon is in the shoulder of the leg of the Lamb that is breaking the bands of bondage of the fishes (His people).


Chart 377 – Total Lunar Eclipse in Aries as seen from Jerusalem on October 28, 2004


The below article by Alan M. MacRobert is from the Sky & Telescope website. 


October’s Ideal Lunar Eclipse


The best astronomical events usually seem to happen at the worst times and places – at 3 a.m. low above your most obstructed horizon, or maybe only in East Antarctica.  But not this time, not for observers anywhere in the Americas.    On October 27, 2004, the full Moon will undergo a deep total eclipse lasting for 1 hour 22 minutes, when it will be high in the eastern sky after dark but while most people are still awake and about.


The only slightly problematic area will be near the West Coast of North America, where the partial phase of the eclipse will begin just a few minutes after sunset and moonrise.  But if you have an open view low to the east, even this situation will only to the drama.  As twilight fades, westerners will see the shadow-bitten Moon coming into stark view low above the landscape, and by the time totality begins, the sky will be getting quite dark and the Moon will be fairly high.


Europe and much of Africa also get a good view of this eclipse, but at a less convenient time: before dawn on the morning of October 28th.”


The chart below shows the times that the stages of the eclipse will be visible throughout the continental United States.


Total Eclipse of the Moon, October 27–28, 2004

Eclipse stage


Eastern Daylight Time

Central Daylight Time

Mountain Daylight Time

Pacific Daylight Time

Moon enters penumbra


  8:06 p.m.

  7:06 p.m.

  6:06 p.m.


First visible shading?


  8:45 p.m.

  7:45 p.m.

  6:45 p.m.


Partial eclipse begins


  9:14 p.m.

  8:14 p.m.

  7:14 p.m.


Total eclipse begins


10:23 p.m.

  9:23 p.m.

  8:23 p.m.

  7:23 p.m.

Total eclipse ends


11:45 p.m.

10:45 p.m.

  9:45 p.m.

  8:45 p.m.

Partial eclipse ends


12:54 a.m.

11:54 p.m.

10:54 p.m.

  9:54 p.m.

Last visible shading?


  1:25 a.m.

12:25 a.m.

11:25 p.m.

10:25 p.m.

Moon leaves penumbra


  2:03 a.m.

  1:03 a.m.

12:03 a.m.

11:03 p.m.





On August 27, 2004 Donald Machholz of Cofax, California discovered a new comet.  The new comet is named after the discoverer (Comet Machholz).  It is also designated as C/2004 Q2.  The below information is an update on this comet from an IAU circular posted on the Comet Homepage on September 9, 2004.


“An updated orbit from for C/2004 Q2 (Machholz) is given on MPEG 2004-Q69.  The comet will reach perihelion on January 24.8, 2005 at a distance of 1.20 AU.  The comet will be near opposition at the time of perihelion so this apparition will be very favourable for both hemispheres.  The comet should obtain naked-eye brightness between the beginning of December and the end of January, at which time it may reach a peak brightness of 4th magnitude.  It should be a

fine binocular object.  Brad Timerson points out that the revised orbit puts 04Q4 about 2 degrees from the Pleiades on January 7, 2005, which will make an excellent sight.  The comet will move rapidly north becoming a circumpolar object in February 2005.”


The following is more info on this comet taken from the article “Newfound Comet Set for Winter Display” by Joe Rao – posted on the website on September 17, 2004.


“From 38 observations over a four-day period, Brian Marsden at the Minor Planet Center in Cambridge, Mass. calculated an orbit for the new Comet Machholz. It is on its way toward the vicinity of the Earth and the Sun, and during October and November, its projected path will appear to describe a small loop taking it into the constellations Lepus, Columba and Caelum. Since it will still be relatively far from both the Sun and Earth, its apparent motion -- in relation to the stars from night to night -- will be quite slow.


At the beginning of December it will return to Eridanus, at which point the comet’s motion across the sky will abruptly turn northward and rapidly increase, making the comet well placed for Northern Hemisphere observers by the last week of December.

How bright?


According to Marsden's calculations, Comet Machholz could become as bright as fourth magnitude. It could possibly hover around at this brightness for about a month beginning right after Christmas. During this interval, the comet will move north of the celestial equator, tracking from southern Taurus on up into the constellation Perseus.


Fourth magnitude means that the comet should at be at least dimly visible to the naked eye in dark skies, though better seen in binoculars or telescopes. Urban skywatchers would not be able to see it without optical aids.


That kind of brightness would still make Machholz a very fine comet from the viewpoint of an amateur astronomer, especially in early January, when it will be approaching the Earth and will be well placed for viewing -- high in a dark sky. Given current information, it doesn’t appear that this comet will become the kind of spectacle that Comet Hale-Bopp was in grabbing the public’s attention.”


There will be more information on this comet with a chart or charts of its orbital path in upcoming newsletters.





September 15 – October 8 – Comet LINEAR travels across the midst of Bethulah.


September 27 – Very close conjunction of Tzedek (Jupiter) and Adom (Mars) in Bethulah.


September 29 – Conjunction of Tzedek and Catab (Mercury) in Bethulah. 

   Asteroid Toutatis’ closest approach to Earth in Centaurus (decan constellation of sign Bethulah).


September 30 – Conjunction of Adom (Mars) and Catab (Mercury) in Bethulah.


October 1 – Unique massing of Tzedek, Adom and Catab (Yahweh Elohim, Michael and Gabriel)


October 3 – Very close conjunction of Nogah (Venus) and the star Regulus in Arieh (Leo).


Events Occurring After the Feasts


October 13 – Partial Solar Eclipse in Bethulah.


October 15 – Bethulah clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet.


October 27 – Total Lunar Eclipse in Aries, the Lamb.  This eclipse may appear blood red from certain locations.


There is certainly no shortage of celestial events occurring during the Fall Feasts this year. But for the most part they are hidden in the light of the Sun from the naked eye, except for the conjunction of Nogah and Regulus, and the eclipses that occur after the feasts.  Is this analogous to the hidden things not seen by the world due to the brightness of the Son, but revealed to those who love him?  We shall soon see.


Have a wonderful Holy Season in Yahuweh